For some of us, the announcement a couple of days ago of a massive expansion around the Las Vegas Convention Center just seemed like the latest development of a story that began back in 2005. That was when a similar—albeit less ambitious—renovation of the venue was planned.
Back then—although the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority stuck with the story of good things ahead for the center for quite some time, going as far as to make arrangements to accommodate major shows like International CES and MAGIC during a multiyear construction project—the excitement faded away along with the global economy and all the fun in Las Vegas.
Of course, in 2008 and 2009 the dashed hopes of show organizers yearning for more meeting rooms and exhibit space (and those of the tradeshow media looking for a good story) were nothing compared with those of the investors who had billions tied up in the abandoned construction projects up and down the Strip.
But the economy has more or less inched its way back, most of those construction projects finally did get completed and now, I guess, it’s time for the LVCVA to get going again too. Wisely perhaps, this time there are fewer details in the initial announcements and press releases.
What’s interesting to me is where the emphasis is being placed this time around: One, on going a little further to make Las Vegas an international business destination with the creation of a World Trade Center and, two, making it a little easier to get to and from the convention center with the help of a centralized transportation hub.
It points to a couple of realities: First, as the economy ever so slowly and painfully returns, it will be more of a global economy than ever and, as an industry, it makes sense to prepare for that. Second, as anybody who has taken 30 or 45 minutes to get from their hotel to the Las Vegas Convention Center on a busy morning knows, the biggest tradeshow in the world isn’t worth much to you if you can’t get there from your hotel two miles away in a decent amount of time.
Michael Hart is executive editor of Expo Magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.